Lake Management discusses progress of personal watercraft policy

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield News) – At Thursday night’s Lake Management meeting, the committee gave an update on the personal watercraft policy on the North Pond portion of Congamond Lake.

Lake Management member Eric Mueller addressed the fact there has been no progress moving forward with the state. As the Westfield News first reported on this matter back on May 26, Congamond Lake Harbormaster and Southwick Police Chief David Ricardi announced that personal watercraft was no longer prohibited on North Pond.

However, since late May, the exact policy has been up in the air. According to Lake Management, anything related to Congamond Lake they report to Massachusetts DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). Since Ricardi got his ruling from the Environmental Police, Mueller mentioned that there has been major confusion that needs to be cleared up.

“The challenge from a legal perspective is that two state agencies have now given conflicting answers,” said Mueller.

The answer that Lake Management wants to receive is not only if personal watercraft is prohibited or not on North Pond, but also how Congamond Lake is depicted. The Environmental Police told Ricardi that Congamond Lake is considered to be a “great pond” consisting of three basins connected by channels. But, the other possibility could be that each body of water on Congamond Lake is taken into account separately, which is what Lake Mangement says that Mass DEP goes by.

Under Ch. 90 law, a body of water in Massachusetts has to have a minimum of 75 acres of water in order to have personal watercraft operating on that particular part of the lake.

With North Pond having roughly 50 acres, the official decision would affect that ruling one way or the other, but for now, that answer is unknown.

“We don’t know what is the correct answer to the question,” said Mueller.

Despite Lake Management saying that they will continue to look for the right answer to this issue, Mueller doesn’t see it being fully resolved any time soon.

“Because of the way this is churning, we are not getting an answer this year,” said Mueller.

Be sure to continue to follow the Westfield News for any updates that may occur with this issue.